400 years ago Galileo Galilee, made his small telescope and pointed it to the sky. He saw the satellites of Jupiter, the phases of Venus, dark spots on the face of the Sun and craters on the Moon. He just reported what he saw and talked about his results. He uncovered evidence that support a heliocentric model of the world.
But OBSERVATION was not safe work at that time. Science was dangerous and talking about new frontiers was sometimes repaid with the scientist’s own blood. And Galileo himself faced an inquisition trial because of what he saw.
400 years after those dark times it seems everything has changed. Now we respect science and scientists and we invite people to observe their world.
This year – the International Year of Astronomy 2009 – we witnessed two major observing and public events: 100 Hours of Astronomy and Galilean Nights. Thousands of events held all around the world and millions of people for the first time looked to the sky and said Wow!
Many people for the first time in their life got the chance to look to and think about the bigger world and new frontiers. Many things have changed over the centuries but some things still stand the same.
Last week, when for the first time a group of Afghans saw the telescopes in the streets of Kabul – where gun smoke has covered the sky for many decades – and looked into the limitless and peaceful sky, they faced a new concept. The stars that shine over all humanity and the sky that passes over all lands without the need for any kind of permission or Visa.
At the same time when the politicians of Iran, US and EU passed a very hard time during serious negotiations, people in Tehran, Paris, London, Beijing, Moscow and Washington were looking to the one sky and wondering about our giant universe and our small place in it.
During the time that great walls of mistrust make distance between Israel and Palestine, the people of these lands look to the Moon that shines the same to both sides.
When Galileo announced his observations, ruling powers were afraid because the new vision could destroy their empire. An empire based on an unreal definition of our world and such empires can only exist until people learn the truth about their world. This was the power of science that made it dangerous in the old times.
Today we can see that science and astronomy still have such power. And events such as 100HA and Galilean Nights can release such power again.
Lets imagine more and more people look to the sky and think about it. What will happen if they look to the sky and see their own planet is just a small piece of rock orbiting a very regular star. One of the more than 150 billion stars of our own Milky Way. A regular galaxy that is just one of billions of galaxies in our Universe.
Just imagine that more and more people see such views and ask themselves why we fight each other when all of our planet is not more than a small piece of sand in the great beach of the Universe? Why do we fight for a few meters of land when you can’t even see our whole planet from the outer regions of the Solar System?
Such questions and views change people’s frontiers and when the people start changing their point of the view of the world everything will start changing.
The power of asking new questions is the same power that made Galileo’s observations into a historical event. And during events such as Galilean Nights and 100 HA we can rediscover such power. If we don’t like what we are seeing in the world, we can change it by the power of knowledge and looking into the sky and thinking about it can increase such power and bring a better and more peaceful world for us.
So lets look to the borderless sky.